At the core of every great business is a great product. Everything from snacks and supplements to tablets and applications – they started with ideas, and came to fruition in the product development process.
But there are a lot of myths that surround product development, and it’s often understood by those breaking into the business world. Let’s identify these myths with the help of today’s best entrepreneurs and debunk them one by one.
“You might think you have the most revolutionary product ever, but until you put it through the wringer on market research, you shouldn’t go full throttle on product development. The good news is that by doing market research in your niche, you’ll get inspired and sharpen up your ideas at the drawing board.” – Nancy Belcher, CEO of Winona
“The two main methods in modern product development are waterfall and agile, but many teams do a mix of each depending on the phase and people involved. The point is to not limit teams to a particular style of product development just because you’ve been told it’s better – find out for yourself.” – Ben Teicher, President and CEO of Healthy Directions
“Ask any product development pro about this myth, and they’ll gladly give a dozen examples to the contrary. You’ve got to have a strong vision to guide you at the beginning, but avoid being too stubborn with that original design. This is a hard tightrope to walk, but it’s a key skill when developing products.” – Michael Hennessy, Founder and CEO of Diathrive
“This may have been the status quo in decades past, but nowadays, team members are given more autonomy when it comes to adding unique input during product development. At the very least, team leaders should encourage creative thinking and invite alternative approaches to common problems. That’s how big breakthroughs happen in product development and in general.” – Anthony Puopolo, CMO of REX MD
“We want to give customers what they want and need, while empathizing with their struggles and frustrations. For me, it’s not necessarily the mantra of the customer that is always right, but do everything with the customer in mind.” – Jason Pace, Technical Product Manager at Alkami Technology
“During product development, it’s easy to get sidetracked and start thinking about 10 other products you want to create in the future. That’s a good thing! It shows that the gears are turning and that there is greater potential for your brand. Focus on perfecting the product in front of you, but be aware of different ideas as they pop up during the process.” – Lindsay McCormick, Founder and CEO of Bite
“One of the biggest myths around product development is that the more features you put into the product, the more consumers will like it. Product innovation is not always about tacking on shiny bells and whistles to impress an audience, but rather defining a problem and offering an effective solution. This was especially the case for us at Bearaby, as we set out to create a sustainable and design-forward weighted blanket to address the issues customers were experiencing with the limited options available on the market. Product development can be elegant in its simplicity, more is not always more. Instead, focus on the features that truly matter to the consumer and the elements that will take your brand to the next level.” – Dr. Kathrin Hamm, Founder and CEO of Bearaby
“There’s definitely value in having everyone use the same applications during product development, especially if things are being done remotely and you need to collaborate across time and space. On the other hand, you don’t want to limit yourself to using tools that may be outdated or inadequate in some way. Branch out and try new software if you think it could help the creative process or improve your workflow.” – Jordan Nathan, Founder and CEO of Caraway
“On one hand, you should know the customer and build fantastic experiences for them. Your dedication and passion to making their life easier and delighting them feeds into the other side. When approached this way, not only will you have a loyal user base, they will also be your strongest advocates and critics.” – Andrew Wang, Senior Product Manager at Gap
“I get it – you want to work freely and not have the dark cloud of financial reality looming overhead during the product development stage. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, and you might end up sabotaging the whole project if you let costs get out of hand. Track your spending from square one so that doesn’t happen.” – Sarah Pirrie, Brand Director at Healist Naturals
“It seems intuitive to have departments stay in their own lanes during product development, but I’ve found that the opposite is true when you zoom out. You want to get a wider range of input from different parts of the business without causing too much traffic. A little bit of extra transparency can help air out ideas and avoid blind spots.” – Matthew Mundt, Founder and CEO of Hug Sleep
“No need to be a hero in product development. Everyone has a role to play, and you’ve got to be comfortable delegating and asking for help if you need it. Dispel the myth that you can do everything on your own, because that’s not how great products get made.” – Jeff Henretig, President of Apothecanna
“Nobody likes deadlines, which is exactly why they work so well. That pressure is real, and it drives people to accomplish amazing things in shorter time frames. Be realistic with your deadlines, of course, but don’t shy away from them. When you get rid of deadlines or loosen them up, productivity inevitably declines.” – Justin Chan, Growth Manager at JuneShine
“When your product hits the market, it’s time to shift gears and start processing feedback as it emerges in real-time,” said Ryan Selmi, Founder of MiiRO. “The first iteration of a product usually has some type of issue or limitation that needs revision. That’s perfectly okay, as long as you adopt the mindset that the work is never truly over. Going back and making improvements is just part of the long game in product development and business as a whole.”
There’s nothing easy about developing a world-changing product out of thin air, but we hope that by debunking these myths, it will help you clarify the process for you and your team.